The Work of Ofsted - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents

Further supplementary memorandum submitted by Ofsted


  I write in response to the queries that you raised during my appearance at the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee on 9 February 2009. You asked about the diversity of Ofsted's workforce. In particular, you were interested in the composition of the current workforce (notably, the inspection workforce) and the steps we are taking to improve in under-represented areas.

  Table A shows a breakdown of the diversity of the Ofsted workforce, in terms of disability, gender and minority ethnic background, as at February 2009.

Table A


% Declared
% Female % Minority
All Staff6.270.8 10.5
Her Majesty's Inspectors5.3 50.46.4
Inspectors in Childcare and Social Care 8.590.89.5
Senior Civil Service (SCS) grade9.7 58.13.2
Senior Managers below SCS7.3 52.59.0
Additional Inspectors from Inspection Service Providers* 0.949.45.8

*  These were Additional Inspectors available or used in the period 1 October to 31 December 2008, which is the most recently available data.

  Ofsted has undertaken a campaign to encourage more staff to declare their own position, confidentially, for the purposes of aggregate monitoring. This has been increasingly successful, indicating a growing trust from staff and a greater understanding of the purposes of monitoring.

  We are also helping to raise awareness and understanding, through our learning and development strategy. Over 1,900 staff have used our on-line equalities awareness tool, and around 100 people managers have participated in half-day workshops. Our staff publication Ofsted matters, and other publications, regularly include a specific focus on equality and diversity matters, highlighting good practice in different sectors. Ofsted is also committed to positive action through various mentoring schemes, such as the Black Leadership Initiative, whereby inspectors are shadowed by black colleagues interested in being inspectors.

  We are also encouraging a more diverse workforce by providing greater accessibility through a range of measures, including the use of flexible working, as well as supportive technology and facilities. We have made and continue to make adjustments to normal working arrangements in order to provide disabled employees with the opportunity to make a full and valuable contribution. At present, we are exploring ways of further developing these approaches, in order to improve the inclusivity and accessibility of our working environments.

  Similarly, we have strengthened our approach to recruitment in order to attract quality candidates from under-represented groups. This is reflected in a revised recruitment and selection policy launched in September 2008.

  Ofsted has recently completed a procurement exercise for the replacement of the current inspection service contracts, which provide our Additional Inspectors and expire in August 2009. Throughout this process, we have ensured that the new contracts include a fully integrated requirement to employ an effective and diverse workforce. The contractors' Equality and Diversity Plans must reflect Ofsted's schemes and will be incorporated into all of the contracts.

  Lastly, I chair a monthly meeting of our Equalities and Diversity Steering Group which seeks to make our performance, as both employer and inspector, best practice in equalities. The Ofsted Board also has an Equalities Champion, who scrutinises our work.

Christine Gilbert

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector

March 2009

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